Aretha Franklin – Aretha Arrives (Reviewed in 2012)

More Aretha Franklin

More Aretha Arrives

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

This Atlantic Green & Blue label pressing has TWO GOOD SIDES on relatively quiet vinyl. We pulled together enough clean copies for a big shootout recently and most of them sounded the way you’d probably expect — thin, bright, and grainy. This copy did a much better job of communicating the music, giving you the kind of life and energy this music needs to work its magic.   

Side one rated between A+ and A++ while side two was nearly as good at A+. You get proper tonal balance on both sides, with an extended but not overdone top end and nice punchy bass below. The presence to the vocals is wonderful, bringing Aretha out of the speakers and into your listening room. There’s a touch of grit and grain at times, but that’s unavoidable unless you get a smeary later pressing that robs the instruments and vocals of their texture. I couldn’t stand to listen to a copy like that — I’ve heard plenty — so I’ll take the grit and the grain with my ’60s soul and call it a day. 

Tons of great material on here, including Aretha’s fun version of the Stones’ Satisfaction and the rockin’ classic 96 Tears.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction 
You Are My Sunshine 
Never Let Me Go 
96 Tears 
Prove It 
Night Life

Side Two

That’s Life 
I Wonder 
Ain’t Nobody (Gonna Turn Me Around) 
Going Down Slow 
Baby I Love You

AMG Review

Recorded in 1967 after the first flush of back-to-back successes with “Respect” and “I Never Loved a Man,” this captures Aretha Franklin in peak form. Lady Soul provides her own piano accompaniment on the majority of tracks here, and the core band is the same one that provided the fire on her previous album. The tunes are an eclectic batch, and while “Baby, I Love You” was the hit of the album, Franklin turns in strong versions of “Satisfaction,” “You Are My Sunshine,” “Night Life,” “Ain’t Nobody (Gonna Turn Me Around),” and a quirky cover of “96 Tears” for good measure. An essential addition to her discography.